A few weeks ago, my favorite local grocery store had an amazing deal on ground turkey -- $1.66 a pound! I had some wiggle room in my grocery budget, so I bought three 3-pound packages. Nine pounds is a lot of ground meat, but I had a plan.
- Plain meat, pre-cooked or raw
Having pre-cooked ground meat in one-pound portions is such a time-saver on busy nights! I usually use it to make tacos, sloppy joes, chili, Stuffed Pepper Soup, or Lasagna Casserole. I love how much flexibility I have when I freeze meat this way! Some argue that freezing cooked meat can affect the taste and texture. Since I add liquid and seasonings to the meat whenever I use it, I don't find that there is a noticeable difference between cooked and raw. In the end, I chose to pre-cook it this time because it saves time, is extremely convenient, and takes up less space than raw in our full-to-the-top freezer.
I recently found my new favorite meatball recipe while watching Lidia's Italy. I love that I can sneak some extra veggies into Kiddo's diet. On a busy day, I'll dump frozen or partly thawed meatballs into the crock pot with a jar of sauce and heat on low for a few hours until we're ready to eat.
While there are many recipes out there, here are two of our go-to casseroles:
This is a favorite in our house! It's so easy to put together that I even let my two-year-old help assemble one (when I was particularly patient and ambitious). I always make at least two so I can have one in the freezer. Lasagna Casserole freezes really well and feeds a crowd.
Cheesy Enchilada Bake
Another super-easy recipe involving just five (yes, 5) ingredients, AND it can be made gluten-free with corn tortillas. I've always made this recipe with chicken, but the original recipe calls for ground meat. Maybe I'll give it a try this winter with my stash.
Just use your favorite recipe. Meatloaves freeze well both baked and un-baked. Just freeze for a few hours, remove from the pan, and then wrap in plastic wrap and a freezer bag or in a freezer-safe container. You can even bake them in muffin tins for individual portions!
Crock Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup, Chili, and Hamburger Vegetable Soup all freeze well. Since most soup recipes make a large batch, we often will put half in a zippered freezer bag and freeze it for later. When we take it out of the freezer, I allow the soup to defrost in the refrigerator overnight. At supper time, I'll dump the soup in a pan to reheat, stirring regularly so the bottom doesn't burn.
Stuffed Pepper Soup
Depending on how we use the browned meat, I will be able to easily stretch the nine pounds of ground turkey I purchased to serve at least a dozen meals for our family of three -- probably even more!
How do you use ground meat? Any more recipes to add to my list?
I hope you stick around for more of our "Stock Your Freezer" series!